Community News Coronavirus Health Opinion Politics

No one would allow more pollution during a pandemic, would they?

The Associate Press reports

Under President Donald Trump, federal regulatory changes are slashing requirements on industry to monitor, report and reduce toxic pollutants, heavy metals and climate-damaging fossil fuel emissions…

Many would argue the existing requirement on industry are already too lax and cause a lot of harm to people who breath air and drink water. Over time, these people most exposed to pollution develop cancer, asthma, lead poisoning, and a host of other ailments. COVID-19 feeds on these ailments.

Logically, you’d think a sound mind would take this time to make sure pollution would remain at or below the government limits. But…

Last month, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Andrew Wheeler announced enforcement waivers for industries on monitoring, reporting and quickly fixing hazardous releases, in cases the EPA deems staffing problems related to the coronavirus pandemic made compliance difficult.

In other words, industries can look the other way and not monitor, report, or fix hazardous releases of pollution into the air, water, or land if they can prove it’s too difficult to do because coronavirus made them do it.

The state agency isn’t even going to come by and check on them. From now until who-knows-when, industry is on the honor system with state and federal regulators regarding the pollution they emit. It’s hoped they do the right thing and stay within their permit limits, but if they can make more product and more money by cranking things up a bit, what do you think they will do?

The Associated Press reporters went down to Port Arthur, Texas where refineries and chemical plants are strung next to each other for miles down in the gulf and found…

Residents of the mostly black and Latino communities closest to the refineries and chemical plants say that puts them on the front line of the Trump administration’s rollbacks of decades of public health and environmental protections. Since then, air pollutants in Houston’s most heavily industrialized areas have surged as much as 62%.

Raise your hand if you think this is only happening in Texas? It would never happen in Chester, Marcus Hook, or Claymont, right?

Or, could this guy be on to something…

“Traditionally less data and enforcement has never added up to cleaner air, water or land for communities of color and lower wealth communities,” said Mustafa Santiago Ali, head of the EPA environmental justice office under President Barack Obama.

If you smell something or find yourself reaching for the inhaler a little more often, you now know who to blame.

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